Knowledge Base

Using Photos in Large Format Print Production

Posted by Andy Keeler on February 10, 2009
Knowledge Base, Trade Show Graphics / 2 Comments

Most trade show displays utilize large format printing in some form. Only the highest quality photographs can be blown up to the size that is required for the backdrop of a trade show display, and we recommend purchasing digital photos from a stock photography website such as www.iStockPhoto.com. When selecting your photo from a stock photography website, choose the largest size option available.

If you want to figure out if your image will work for your trade show display, you will need to know the size of the image (usually listed in pixels or inches) and the resolution of the image (usually listed in DPI or dots-per-inch). In order to avoid pixelation (which is the appearance of fuzziness or blurriness within your image), your image will need to be 100 DPI when it is blown up to actual size.

Image size and resolution are inversely proportional. As image size increases, image resolution decreases. If you magnify an image to twice its original size, the resolution of the image will be cut in half. Suppose your image is 1200 pixels wide and 1200 pixels high (100 pixels = 1 inch, so the image would be 12″ x 12″ when printed), and the resolution is 100 DPI. If you blow up the image to 2400 pixels x 2400 pixels, the resolution would be reduced to 50 DPI. If you shrink the image to 600 pixels x 600 pixels, the resolution would increase to 200 DPI.

With this in mind, the first step in figuring out if your photo will work is to determine what size it will need to be when printed. Suppose you need your photo to cover the entire back wall of your Exhibit One display (70.75″w x 82″h). It is highly unlikely that the image you need will be available in the correct size when you purhcase it, so you will need to blow up the image to the size you need before you can work with it. The largest images on stock photography websites will usually come at a resolution of 300 DPI, and the size of the image will vary. Using the relationship between image resolution and image size, you should be able to quickly determine if the photo will be large enough to remain crisp when it is blown up to the size you need.

You never need to worry about fuzzy images when you work with MODdisplays, because we have checks and balances in place to ensure that low resolution images do not make it to print. Our graphic designers check each file for images that may appear fuzzy when printed, and these problems will be pointed out in your e-proof. We never go to print without our client’s approval, and our e-proofs are very thorough and meticulous. Most resolution issues are fixed at this stage, and the chances of a client receiving a graphic with pixelation are extremely slim.

At MODdisplays, we place all of our emphasis on the final output. We understand what it takes to look great at a trade show, and we work hard to make sure our clients are pleased with the graphics we print.

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